WHAT IS BEHIND THE ACRONYM MOF?
For people who do not live in France or those who are unfamiliar with the hotel industry, or both, the title MOF is not well known. MOF is a term used to describe the long-running award Meilleurs Ouvriers de France, which in English means ‘one of the best craftsmen in France’. These tree letters hide one of the most prestigious titles in the world of the hospitality and culinary arts. It is considered by French chefs to be one of the highest — if not the highest — honor. The two most famous MOF chefs in recent years were Paul Bocuse and Joel Robuchon.
Begun in 1925, the MOF competition is in fact not just one competition but encompasses dozens of contests in more than 200 professions, from gardener to piano tuning to plumber to — the most well-known — those in the culinary fields: cooking (cuisine-gastronomie), patisserie, and chocolaterie. The French National Education Ministry organizes MOF competitions every three or four years. Since the beginning of the competition, only about 200 chefs have been honored with the title.
WHAT ARE THE REQUIREMENTS TO PARTICIPATE?
Technically, any French citizen (sorry for those who are not French) of at least 23 years can participate in the contest for a registration fee of 60 euros. However, few have the preparation and motivation to become serious candidates. Moreover, they must be prepared to deny themselves in the four years before the competition and spend over 1,500 hours in training. This contest is also distinguished by the lack of classification. Indeed, the MOF title is awarded based on the average scores of each event. There can therefore be several winners or none if no one has reached a sufficient score to win the title. The tricolor collar and the MOF logo on the laureates' jacket are proof that they have reached a level of excellence. This title is so important that anyone who wrongly claims to hold it can be sent to jail.
WHAT IS THE PLACE OF THE WOMEN IN THIS COMPETITION?
Actually, there is only two female chefs to have won the title. In 2007, Andrée Rosier was the first woman chef to become MOF at only 28 years of age and Virginie Basselot in 2015 was the second one.
For chefs who earn the title, and the accompanying right to wear the blue-white-red collar on their chefs’ jacket, the rewards may be considerable. They may be more likely to nab prestigious jobs or lure more customers to their restaurants or stores. Many chefs, though, seem to launch their pursuit of the MOF title as a sort of personal Holy Grail, as a way to prove their merit to themselves above all, sometimes attempting the competition several times.
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CHEF SKILLS HK Team